101+ Fun and Educational Screen Free Activities

It seems like screen-free time is a pretty hot topic these days.

I totally understand it, too. Most of my daughter’s toys take a battery or have to be plugged into an outlet.

Note: This post contains affiliate links.

I, like a lot of parents, try to keep tabs on how much time my daughter spends in front of a screen.

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Never have I been a big fan of kids being glued to screens, even if it is for educational reasons.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that we live in a world where we have no choice but to teach our kids how to use technology, but does your toddler really need to spend hours on a tablet? Or watching TV?

 

 

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I’m all for educating kids. I take advantage of every opportunity to teach Bee something new. But she isn’t even 3 yet! Right now most of her educational activities are screen-free and I plan to follow this trend for years to come.

So, living in this day in age where screens are everywhere and kids aren’t normally taught to entertain themselves without electronics, what’s a parent like me to do?

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I’ve spent hours compiling this list in hopes that it will help motivate parents to turn off the screen and get their kids involved in screen-free activities!

I hope you find some ideas you and your child will really enjoy doing.


Sidewalk Chalk

Simple, yet effective. Drawing on the patio or sidewalk is always a hit with kids of all ages! Heck, even I love using chalk!

Dress Up

Tons of kids enjoy playing dress up, although I have to admit that my daughter prefers crawling around the house pretending to be a dog or a lion over dressing up.

Go Swimming

It doesn’t have to be at a pool, either! You could always go to a local reservoir or river to swim for free.

Finger Painting

I’m not a big fan of finger painting. Things just get way too messy, but if you’re cool with messes, more power to you!

 

Shed Hunting

Even more fun if you train your dog to find sheds, too!
Not only does shed hunting give you a great excuse to get the kids outdoors and into nature in spring, but you can also sell the sheds you find to people who repurpose them.

Simon Says

Check out the blog I linked to for 30 awesome variations of this game!

Board Games

Playing age-appropriate board games is a fun and educational way to spend your time! Candy Land is a favorite in our house currently and Let’s Go Fishin’ is a close runner up.

Drawing

Drawing improves creativity, memory, problem-solving skills, and has a whole lot of other benefits, too! Not to mention most kids think it’s a ton of fun.

Write a Letter

I think this is a skill we should be teaching our kids as young as possible. Letter writing is definitely an art form and too many young people are incapable of writing a letter that seems genuine and sincere. So start working with them now!

Use Ice Paint

I’d never heard of this prior to today, but it looks like fun!

 

Color

Get yourself an adult coloring book and decent pencils. Next, hit the Dollar Tree for crayons and a cheapo coloring book for your little one! You can spend some time coloring together!

Jump Rope

Adjustable jump ropes like the one I linked to are great for kids! You can cut it to the perfect length for your little one.

Make Cards

Don’t you remember making cards when you were a kid? Father’s Day cards and Christmas cards. Thank-you cards and birthday cards.
Bee and I plan on making cards like these later today!

 

Water Painting

Bee has actually never water painted… I think I’m slacking as a parent!

 

Make Suncatchers

I used to love doing this as a kid! I bet your kids will, too.

 

Throw on a Pair of Skates

Take the kids roller skating! The website I linked to has a great search engine to find skating rinks near you.

 

Listen to Music

And dance! This is one of my 3-year-old’s favorite screen-free activities!

Teach the Dog New Tricks

I’m gonna let you in on a secret: I’m a crazy dog lady.
I love dogs. They are my “thing”. My favorite pastime. My hobby, if you will.
We have two dogs right now and one is a 7-month-old pup.
I’m a strong believer in dogs and children having a healthy, respectful relationship. One great way to create such a bond is by involving your child in all parts of your dog’s care, including obedience training.
So, grab the kid and work together to teach Fido a new trick!

 

Clean the House

Turn daily household chores into a game and make cleaning fun!

Make Some Slime

Definitely on my to-do list this month!

 

Visit a Park

A local city park works just fine, especially with younger kids. If you’re looking for something a little more exciting, check out the link above!

 

Hide and Go Seek

Every kid goes through a phase where they’ll happily give up screen time if you offer to play hide and seek with them.

 

Go for a Walk

Kids these days don’t walk nearly enough. Go for a stroll through your neighborhood today!

 

Local Kid Hot Spots

There isn’t much in my community in way of kid-friendly activities and establishments, but I did learn about something new just by searching my town on the website I linked to!

Mushroom Hunting

Yet another great way to get out and away from the hustle and bustle of your day-to-day life. Bee and I are so excited to go mushrooming in a few months! We try to get out every day we can during Morel season.
If you’re inexperienced and have nobody to help teach you, I highly recommend picking up this book or one like it before you go foraging.

Have a Picnic

I remember enjoying picnic lunches as a kid and it’s something I’ve continued to do with my daughter. She likes it just as much as I remember liking it. Definitely worth it.

 

Play Catch

I was extremely excited last summer when Bee developed an interest in baseball and playing catch with a mit. We spent a ton of time in the backyard after dinner last summer just tossing around a ball. I’m sure this summer will be no different.
Definitely beats sitting inside and watching TV all evening!

 

Find, Paint, and Hide Rocks

This is a favorite screen-free activity in our home.
Bee isn’t exactly the most skilled at painting, so I let her pick a base coat for all the rocks and she paints the first coat. I’m the one who adds all the details to the rocks.
Makes for a fun mother-daughter bonding experience!

 

Nature Hike

In case it isn’t already clear, I love getting my kid outdoors and into nature. Taking a hike and discussing all the things you see on your journey is tons of fun and super educational.

 

Geocaching

This is something I’ve never tried, but I know other moms who geocache with their kids and it’s a much-enjoyed family activity.

 

Bug Hunting

If your kid is obsessed with bugs like mine is, going bug hunting is a great screen-free activity. Best of all, you don’t have to go anyplace special to do this! You can search for bugs in your backyard or neighborhood park.

 

Paint By Numbers

My daughter isn’t ready for something like this yet, but if you have older kids, this is definitely an activity worth considering.

 

Volunteer

This is an activity I’ve been thinking about lately. My local animal shelter works with parents and I’ve heard they are happy to let you bring your little ones to volunteer with you, assuming they are mindful.
Not to mention the place is crawling with dogs. Definitely a plus for both myself and Bee!

 

Open House at the Fire Station

I know some schools take kids to the fire station as a field trip, but why not go as a family, too?

 

Treasure Hunt

I feel like this one is self-explanatory and anyone who was ever a kid shouldn’t need to be told just how much fun a treasure hunt can be.

 

I-Spy

My daughter is so cute when we play i-spy. She likes to say names instead of “my little eye”. So, when we play, I have to say “I spy with my mommy eye…”
Follow the link above to find a list of different variations of the game!

 

Build a Fort

This can be an extremely fun screen-free activity for both you and the kids!

 

Start a Garden

I love the idea of teaching my daughter to be self-sufficient and gardening is a great place to start.

 

Make Bread

Another one of those “self-sufficient” screen-free activity ideas. The link above sends you to a blog post containing a fun and interesting way for kids to make bread.

 

Go Fishing

I suppose we’re continuing the trend.
Teaching kids to fish is something all responsible parents should do, in my opinion. We shouldn’t be raising children to believe they’ll always have a store to go to and purchase their food.

 

Berry Picking

You can start with something easy like blueberries or blackberries or, if you’re looking for a challenge, pick up a book about foraging for berries and pick some less common berries. Use them to make jam and give jars away as Christmas gifts! You can’t say that receiving a jar of strawberry or raspberry jam is more exciting than getting a jar of thimbleberry or mulberry jam!

 

Paint the Sidewalk

My daughter absolutely loves using sidewalk paint! And, since it just washes off, I can’t complain.

 

Mop the Floor – With Socks

How cool is this idea? Follow the link to see how one blogger makes cleaning her floors fun for everyone!

 

Climb Trees

Even though a part of me fears injury these days, I’d still climb a tree if the opportunity arose!

 

Make a Pinball Drop

Such a neat idea! I never would have thought of something like this myself.

 

Make Your Own Soap

I’ve known a lot of adults that make their own soap and I think teaching our kids how to make soap is a great idea. Just a lesson in self-sufficiency that may turn out to be priceless.

 

Obstacle Course

Wouldn’t your kid love to run an obstacle course? I sorta want to make one for myself now…

 

Get a Fish

Fish ownership can be very inexpensive and supply your children with priceless memories and life experiences.

 

Water Gun Fight

Most kids would say this is one of the greatest summer activities ever created.

 

Pull Out the Lincoln Logs

Lincoln logs are a huge hit in our house right now!

 

Skip Rocks

About a year ago, I took Bee to a small creek and thought it might be fun to skip some rocks. That’s when I learned that this skill I once had was no more. Seriously. 0 skips the entire afternoon.
Since then, I’ve taken every opportunity I get to try to skip a rock or two. Slowly but surely, things are improving.
When was the last time you skipped a rock? Have you taught your kid this skill yet?

 

Learn to Crochet

I wouldn’t recommend this screen-free activity for 3-year-olds like my daughter, but it’s a great idea for older kids.

 

Board Games

You know there are a lot of educational benefits to playing board games, right?

 

Play-Doh Time

My kid loves turning off the TV and pulling out Play-Doh. It happens at least 4 times a week.

 

Run Through Sprinklers

A summer activity the whole family can enjoy! Check out awesome, kid-friendly sprinklers like this one on Amazon!

 

Start a Puzzle

There are puzzles for kids and adults of all ages! Turn the screen off and start one today

 

No-Sew Blanket

A really easy project for even young kids, assuming a parent helps out a bit.

 

Cloud Watch… And Paint

Check out the awesome idea I linked to above!

 

Time Capsule

I’ve always wanted to make a family time capsule.

 

Make Friendship Bracelets

Or just bracelets in general. Your kid will get a kick out of it.

 

Go to a Farm

There are so many things for kids to learn on a farm, especially city kids.

 

Try to Create Magnetic Mud

I’m not sure there’s anything more exciting for toddlers than mud that’s not only messy but magnetic, too!

 

Create Popsicle Stick Picture Frames

I did this as a kid! And I wouldn’t be surprised if my mom still has some of my picture frames stored away somewhere.

 

Make a Collage

Let your kid pick out all their favorite pictures from old magazines and turn them into one big collage!

 

Blow Bubbles

Or play a fun game with bubbles.

 

Shaving Cream Fun

Make some awesome shaving cream art!

 

Hop Scotch

Check out some awesome variations of your childhood game in the link above!

 

Walk The Dog

Like I said earlier, I’m a dog person and I think kids and dogs should both be taught to respect one another.
A big part of creating a healthy, respectful relationship between the two is by teaching both of them how to go for structured walks.

Build a Fairy Garden

This would be so much fun and the best part is that you don’t need a lot of outdoor space to make it happen!

 

Make Ice Cream

There are lots of simple no-churn ice cream recipes out there! Check out the one I linked to.

 

Paper Airplanes

If I’m being honest, this never held my attention long when I was a kid, but I know that some kids really enjoy making paper airplanes.

 

Make a Scooter Track

Super easy to do if you have a decent sized patio or a paved driveway!

 

Face Paint

Bring the carnival to your own house! Pick up some face paint and get creative!

 

Wash the Car

From late spring to early autumn, Bee and I try to clean our pickup every other week.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a huge part of me that prefers washing and detailing the truck alone! 3-year-olds definitely aren’t the most productive of people.
But, regardless, I still let her participate and use it as a chance to teach her how to properly clean a vehicle.

 

Make Sock Puppets

I’ve yet to try this, but I already know my kid would love it. Would yours?

 

Pinterest Crafts

There are tons of simple kids crafts on Pinterest. You’re sure to find something no matter your child’s age or interest.
Follow me on Pinterest through the link above and you’ll stay up to date on all the most popular Pinterest kid’s crafts!

 

Bake Cookies

I love baking cookies. Partially because I have all my favorite recipes memorized now and I’ve created a rhythm that I follow every single time. And partially because I friggen love cookie dough. Especially chocolate chip, right before I add the chocolate chips. Mmmmmmm.
I try not to bake cookies too often. They aren’t great for keeping a healthy waistline! But when I do whip out the cookie baking supplies, I always include Bee. She loves to help add premeasured ingredients and, of course, lick every spoon, spatula, and mixer attachment I use.

 

Set Up a Lemonade Stand

Be careful, though. This is something I wouldn’t do unless I lived in a small town.

 

Make Some Magnets

Bee loves magnets, so she would get a kick out of making them herself!

 

Yard Work

I know it doesn’t seem fun, but fun is in the eye of the beholder! Last spring we moved into a house with a horrible backyard. There was a ton of yard work to do.
I spent weeks out there working on my yard, only to spend the weekend with my hubby, doing the exact same thing.
This made it difficult to parent well. Letting an almost 3-year-old do her own thing while I’m in the backyard isn’t really ideal. So, I found a solution.
We bought her some plastic shovels and let her “help” us in designated areas. It may not have simplified my task, but it definitely made being a half decent parent a little easier.

 

Water Baloon Fight

You can take the fun one step further by getting one of these Bunch O Balloon Bunches.

 

Elephant Toothpaste Experiment

Prior to creating this post, I had never heard of the elephant toothpaste experiment. It’s officially a must try!

 

Fix Up Old Toys

It might not sound too exciting to you, but your kid will love fixing up his/her toys and making them look like new!

 

Toss Around a Frisbee

I can’t help but laugh a little when I try to imagine playing frisbee with my daughter.
This is definitely one of those screen-free activities you should try with older kids.

 

Make a Special Dinner

Let your kid pick out what’s for dinner… then let them help you make it!
I’m a big fan of teaching kids to cook and I strongly believe they are never too young to start learning.

 

Make Giant Building Blocks

I don’t know why, but I’d never thought about doing this with scrap wood! My daughter would love it; she’s big into building stuff out of blocks these days.

 

Build a Box Castle

Save up a few boxes from those Amazon shipments you get and use them to make a box castle!

 

Make Reindeer Chow

Or Valentines Day Chex mix, Easter Bunny Chow, Halloween Harvest Hash… Basically, any kind of Chex mix recipe is a winner in my home. Especially if it’s festive!

Play 4 Square

I’m not going to lie, I’ve played this more times than I can count as an adult! And, if I’m being honest here, I never played as a kid!

 

Make & Play With Cloud Dough

Such a fun activity! You have to try it at least once!

 

Roast Marshmallows

A little more difficult if you live in an apartment or don’t have much in the way of a backyard, so follow the link above to learn how to safely roast marshmallows with your kids indoors!

 

Have a Nerf Gun War

Loved by all, especially Dads. Pick up a couple Nerf guns and have a war! Make it even more fun with one of these tactical vests! The vest comes with extra darts, too.

 

Lego Time

If you don’t see the educational value in time spent building with Legos, I think you might be crazy!
Kids and adults alike can have fun creating to their heart’s content with these little blocks.

 

Make Some Edible Playdough

Play-Doh is a big thing in our house right now. Bee will play with it for an hour, easily, and that’s saying something!
Making edible playdough of our own would definitely be fun. Just need to make sure the kids realize the store bought stuff isn’t something they should eat.

 

Create a Keepsake

I am absolutely in love with the craft I linked to above!

 

Topple Dominoes

I had so much fun doing this as a kid. It’s a great way to pass the screen-free time.

 

Paint in the Bathtub

You’d be hard-pressed to find a kid that didn’t enjoy this activity.

 

Crazy K Cup Fun

I had no idea there was so much fun to be had with K Cups!

 

Excavate Some Fossils

Any kid who loves dinosaurs, as my daughter does, will get a kick out of this!

 

Homemade Necklaces

Come on, you know you still remember making necklaces with your friends as a kid, don’t you?

 

Star Gaze

This is an activity that we participate in as a family during our summer camping trips. Way up in the mountains, away from society, in locations untouched by light pollution.

 

Make Keychains

A whole lot of fun for the older kids!

 

Start a Giant Coloring Poster

I loved giant coloring posters as a kid! I used to tape them to the back of my bedroom door and stay up until all hours of the night coloring to my heart’s content with my childhood dog by my side.
I’m counting down the years until Bee is old enough for these. It’ll be the perfect excuse to relive a cherished memory from my youth.

 

Backyard Water Slide

AKA: Slip n’ Slide.
I prefer the idea of buying one, but you could always try to make your own!

 

Go Sledding

An activity that requires zero electricity! You just need a little snow.


What are your family’s favorite screen-free activities? What do your kids do for fun when the TV is turned off?

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